Congressional debate, Monday.the debate in the Senate — views of the Northwestern Democrats of the House — the port of New York, &c., &c.
The debates in Congress, Monday, were more than usually interesting. In the Senate there was, perhaps, a slight show to conservatism: The two Senators from Connecticut, Messrs. Foster and Dixon, both rather extreme Republicans, expressed their determination to let "party slide" in preference to endangering the Union. Whatever the South might demand within the limits of the Constitution they were prepared to grant, and they would also meet the question free from all party feeling. They repudiated the assertion that the people of the North hated the people of the South, and did not believe that the people of the South entertained such enmity to the North as had been represented. Preston King, in reply to some questions from Mr. Benjamin, declared that he had no fears of a dissolution of the Union. The present excitement did not trouble him in the least. As to secession, he recognized no such right, and would have the Government treat a rebellious State as it would a rebellious citizen. General Jackson had settled that point to the satisfaction of the whole Union. These, with a few snarling remarks from Mr. Sumner, accompanying a letter, which he read, of Gen. Jackson's, on the subject of secession, were the evidences during the debate of an uncompromising spirit on the Republican side. Jefferson Davis and Mr. Brown, of Mississippi, both regarded secession as a fixed fact, requiring only time for its consummation, and therefore was opposed to the resolution and to all compromises. It was now "too late" was their cry, and they could not vote for a resolution looking to a compromise, when they did not believe that any could be made or would be accepted. The people hate each other in their hearts, and compromises cannot change the sentiment of the people. In the House, Mr. Hawkins, of Florida, again explained his position in asking to be excused from serving on the Committee of Thirty-three. Mr. Vallandigham proposed to vote for the motion to excuse Mr. Hawkins. It is, he said, idle to attempt to coerce a gentleman to serve upon this Committee, who assigns such reasons for his refusal as the gentleman from Florida has given; and in justice to him and his State, but above all, to the very purpose of the Committee itself, I cannot so vote.--You may decline to excuse him, but you cannot compel him to discharge with good will or alacrity the duties you impose upon him. But what kind of conciliation and compromise is that which begins by forcing a man to serve on a Committee raised for the very purpose of peace? What prospect, in God's name — I speak it reverently — is there of adjustment, when you are obliged to resort to compulsion to make up your Committee on conference and adjustment? I pass by, without comment, the fact that with far more propriety and effect this proposition might have come from the Republican party in this House — the party that has just triumphed in the election which is the culminating point of all our controversies and of the dangers which surround us. The gentleman who is the Chairman of this Committee, (Mr. Corwin,) distinguished for his age, experience, eloquence and moderation, to say nothing of his position as the leader of that party, might have assumed the responsibility of taking the initiative in that great work of reconciliation, which alone can save us now, instead of allowing it to be devolved upon the representative of that particular spot in Virginia which abolition madness and wickedness selected as the weakest point of attack along the entire slaveholding borders of this Confederacy. I pass by also the cumbrous construction of this Committee, with the single remark that a council of war never fights, and a committee of thirty-three never will agree upon anything — at least upon anything, not so weak, so diffused, so diluted as to be utterly inadequate to the solution of the greatest and gravest, and most material question which has ever been presented in modern history. I will not so much as suggest the possibility that the labors of this Committee will all end in nothing, and in worse than nothing; nor will I even remark upon the peculiar composition of this Committee in having men placed upon it who represent nobody, not even themselves, or who are peculiarly odious to a majority, or a very large minority, of the sections from which they come, and thus are calculated much more to embarrass and defeat than to advance the avowed purpose for which the Committee was ordered. There is not one solitary representative of the Democratic party upon the Committee from the sixteen free States of this Union east of the Rocky Mountains. The Pacific, indeed, is represented, but no thanks — it was Hobson's choice. There is no Republican from California here, although Lincoln, by the infinite subdivision of his opponents, has managed to secure the electoral vote of the State. The excellent and intelligent gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Stout) is indeed upon it, because he is fortunate in having no colleague; although, to tell the truth, I should not have been surprised, remembering the representation of Oregon in some recent political Conventions, to have seen the gentleman supported by Horace Greeley, or possibly the member from Massachusetts, (Mr. Thayer,) though perhaps that member is a little too strongly tinctured with the doctrine of popular sovereignty to suit the times. In speaking of the power and geographical advantages of the great West, he said we have an empire equal in area to the whole of Russia, and we mean neither to be a dependency or a province of the East or the South, nor yet an inferior or second rate power upon this Continent — and if we cannot have a maritime boundary secured upon other terms, we will cleave our way to the seacoast with the sword. A nation of warriors we may be, but a tribe of shepherds never ! And yet nearly one-half the people of this vast empire, which is very soon to play so important a part in the affairs of this continent, are utterly ignored and excluded from this Committee. More than six hundred thousand voters, represented here by sixteen members upon this floor, are silenced and disfranchised in its arrangement. What do you propose to do without their votes at home and our votes here? Or are we both blindly to take whatever your Committee may choose graciously to report, and be thankful for it? We have one State (Illinois) with a Democratic majority upon this floor, and she at least had a right to be represented upon your Committee. The time is short — the danger is imminent — the malady deep-seated and of long standing ! Whatever is done must be done at once and thoroughly. Every remedy must go right straight to the seat of the disease. Let there be no delays — no weak inventions — no temporizing expedients. Otherwise not the secession of a few States only, but a total disruption of the whole government is inevitable. We are standing now in the forum of history; we are acting in the eye of posterity. We have solemn duties to the whole country to perform, and if we do not discharge them instantly and aright-- ‘ "Not poppy, nor man dragon, nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Will medicine us to that sweet sleep which yesterday we owned."
’ In the name of the Democracy of sixteen States of the Union, I protest against the arrangement of this Committee. My motives may be misinterpreted now. Be it so. Time will, in a little while, vindicate them. Mr. McClelland said that secession opened a troublous future. He did not believe our government could be dissolved by the action of one of its constituent parts. Bound together, as we are, by a common language and religion, and common mountains and rivers, it is only by a civil and sectional war, such as the sun never shown on, that such a result can be produced. There is more strength in our government than is extensively believed, and the people will sooner or later rally to its maintenance. The gentleman from Florida had alluded to the fact that the Northwest Democracy has been excluded from the Committee, and he urged this as the reasan why he should be excused. He thanked Mr. Hawkins from his heart for the motives which prompted this generous manifestation. Nevertheless, he (Mr. McClelland,) could not agree that Mr. Hawkins should be excused from serving on the Committee. He was amazed that the entire Democracy from the North should be excluded from representation on the Committee. He could not believe the South would now desert their friends in the North. Would they not consult their own safety by meeting with the North the proscription of a merciless Republican foe? Let us fight the battle out under the Constitution; let us, while it is not too late, accommodate our differences on principles of justice, and secure to the people of the South their constitutional rights, and thus settle, forever, this distracting question. The people of the Northwest are an intelligent people and eminently prosperous, waxing stronger and stronger everyday. Shall we consent to have ourselves cut off? In the course of his remarks he expressed his confidence in the patriotism of the Chairman of the Committee. Mr. Sickles proceeded to show that every instinct, thought and purpose of the city of New York is national, patriotic and American. In the name of such a people, with such a record as he had presented, he ventured to appeal to all sides of the House for the moderation and devotion to duty which had always characterized them. One of the greatest dangers of the day is that the country does not understand the extent of the peril in which we are placed. The country has been filled with delusions, which even now present themselves, one of which is that disunion can be prevented by force; that it can by revolution be brought to the verge of destruction, and yet at last the strong arm of power can stay the work. On the call for force, come where it may, no man would pass the frontier of the city of New York to wage war against a State, which, through its constituted authority, should for its rights, interests and honor, seek safety in a separate existence. The Union can be made perpetual by justice, but not by force, and, if these truths were engraved on the hearts of the people of the Northwest and East all would be well. Until these truths be recognized, there cannot be peace. He, and so did the city of New York, believed that the power to deal with this question rests alone on the Republican party, who have just achieved, through the recent election, the patronage and power of the Federal Government, and who control the legislation of the Northern States. Let those Legislatures speedily be convened, and see in what manner they are prepared to deal with this question. The cause of the present evils is disobedience to the obligations of the Constitution, clinging to which as an article of faith we would have peace again.--If there is not a conscience to render faithful compliance with the present Constitution, is it to be expected it can be patched up with better effect by Messrs. Giddings, Seward and Sumner? He despaired if there was in the North, East or West, a conscience that would have more reverence for a work of this kind than for that of the heroic fathers of the Republic. Why does not the President elect speak? If Mr. Lincoln would give notice to all applicants for office that he will not entertain any applications from those in favor of the Personal Liberty bills, and against the execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, we would not hear the word slavery among prominent Republicans for the next four years. --The city of New York will cling to the Union while a single hope is left, but when there is no longer a Union, proud as she is of her opinion as a metropolis, ready to banish sectional prejudices, and willing to contribute all in her power to maintain her honor at home and abroad — when there is no longer a Union, she will never consent to be an appendage, a slave of a Puritan province. She will assert her own independence. There is no sympathy now between the city and State of New York, nor has there been for years. She will open her free port to the commerce of the world.